Robert Wilson Video Portraits


Robert Wilson Video Portraits

February 1, 2011
February 16, 2011

About the Exhibit

February 1, 2011 – February 16, 2011

The Blanton Museum of Art is pleased to present a special installation of video portraits by the internationally acclaimed artist, and 2011 Blanton gala honoree, Robert Wilson. Described by The New York Times as a “towering figure in the world of experimental theater,” Wilson is an artist whose works integrate a wide variety of media including set design, choreography, sculpture, lighting design, music and more. Writer Susan Sontag said of his career, “It has the signature of a major artistic creation. I can’t think of any body of work as large or as influential.” For two weeks only this February, five portraits from Wilson’s groundbreaking video portrait series will be installed in several galleries on the second floor of the museum.

Robert Wilson
Brad Pitt (Actor), 2004
Digital media, 62 x 40 in.
Music by Michael Galasso
Text and voice by Christopher Knowles
Courtesy of RW Work, Ltd. and Dissident Industries, NY

The video portrait series includes a mix of artists, musicians, actors, celebrities, and animals presented on high-definition flat screens. A convergence of the history of fine art photography, film, and video art, the portraits present subjects in a near-motionless tableau—all carefully conceived, staged, and directed by Wilson and his team of collaborators. The images showcase his renowned sense of color and light, and draw upon his interests in theater, architecture, design, music, cinema and performance. As the videos play out, they also reveal Wilson’s brilliance in exposing the many meanings of the concept of “portrait” by creating a double mask of sorts: one mask covers the subject, the other how the subject is perceived.

The Blanton’s presentation will feature five portraits: Brad Pitt (Actor)2004; Ivory(black panther), 2006; Kool (snowy owl),2006; Princess Caroline of Monaco, 2006; and Alexis Broschek, 2005.

Shot in both a horizontal format for television and cinema display, and a vertical format for gallery presentation, the video portraits are shown on large-scale, HD plasma flat-screen monitors measuring 62 x 40 inches.

Robert Wilson Video Portraits is produced by Dissident Industries, Inc., a New York-based creative development and production company that connects the realms of film, the visual arts, music, sport, emerging technology, and international event installation.

To date, the series has garnered international attention and has been exhibited at venues around the world, including: P.S.1 and The Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; MADRE Museum, Naples Italy; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Palazzo Reale, Milan Italy; Neue Galerie, Gratz Austria; Hamburg Kunsthalle, Hamburg Germany; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; The National Museum of Singapore; the Spoleto Festival, Italy; and the Akademie der Künst, Berlin.

The presentation of works by Robert Wilson at The Blanton is supported by Jeanne and Michael Klein. Additional support is provided by the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation.


Wilson’s multi-faceted artistic explorations include everything from fine art installations and furniture design, to theatrical direction and scenic design. His drawings, designs, and installations have been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Major artistic collaborations include the seminal Einstein on the Beachwith Philip Glassand The Black Rider and Alice with Tom Waits.

Among his numerous awards and honors, Wilson has received an Obie award for direction, the Golden Lion for sculpture from the Venice Biennale, the third-ever Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for Lifetime Achievement, two Guggenheim Fellowship awards, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship award, and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

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